The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
RAYS 4, RAngers 3 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Sean Rodriguez. He doesn’t get opportunities very often anymore, but great job by Rodriguez being ready when his name was called. First there was the 2-run home run in the 6th inning that tied the game. And then there was the diving grab in the 9th inning off of AJ Pierzynski’s bat…Matt Joyce/Freddy Guzman. This is exactly why the Rays added Guzman. But before he stole second base, it was Joyce that drew the 2-out walk in the bottom of the 11th, laying off a 3-2 slider. But then Guzman came in and did what he had to do. Everybody in the stadium knew he was going to try to steal second and he still did it. He then scored on David DeJesus’ single…Brandon Gomes. With the go-ahead run on third base, Joe Maddon went to Brandon Gomes who came in and struck out Ian Kinsler on three straight pitches to end the threat…Andrew Friedman. If you missed it last night, I went in to lengthy detail on how the Rays were able to add Freddy Guzman to the roster. But the biggest point is that Friedman and Co. were smart enough to put the plan in motion nearly two months ago, knowing that they might need something in the final weeks of the season. They may not have known what they would need, but they put themselves into a position where they would be able to add a player at almost no cost. Chances are they had a number of players on the radar, both inside and outside the organization. When the time came, they realized the biggest need was some late-inning speed. And this is what makes the Rays great. They don’t make moves when they have to make moves. They make moves before they have to make moves.
THE BAD: Sam Fuld. It was a great moment, but did you guys notice Sam Fuld’s slide into home on the walk-off hit. It think it might be more accurately described as a “belly flop.” Here is a GIF…The Orioles. The Orioles are starting to make me a little nervous. All of a sudden they have won 3 of 4 and are just 2 games behind the Rays in the loss column. What makes this worse is that they two teams will play a 4-game series starting tomorrow. Normally at this time of year, the Orioles would almost have to sweep the Rays to do damage, something that is unlikely. But if the O’s win 3 out of 4, they could be tied in the loss column after the series. So the Rays HAVE to at least split this series. If they do, it will probably be the nail in the Orioles’ coffin. But if the Rays don’t, they’ll be in a world of trouble.
THE TELLING: Did you follow the Game Graph last night? It was nuts, and looked like a 3-hour version of the Rays’ season… A win tonight would clinch the season series against the Rangers. That would give the Rays a tiebreaker head-to-head…The Rays are now 83-68 and lead the Wild Card. They are 1.0 game ahead of the Rangers and 2 games ahead of the Indians and the Orioles in the loss column. If the Rays go just 5-6 in the final 11, the Indians would have to go 7-3 to pass the Rays and the Orioles would have to go 8-3.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Jesse Crain is expected to be activated after throwing in an instructional league game today. [TBO.com]
- Joe Maddon says Tim Beckham “may not hardly get on the field,” but thinks the experience of being around the big league club will boost his confidence. [TBO.com]
- Here is a look at how the Wild Card race has changed over the last couple of weeks. [WDBB]
- And here is a chart that shows what each Wild Card chaser has to do to catch the Rays. [@TJ_Pittinger]
- I wasn’t watching ESPN, anybody know what this painting was about? Did a fan make it? [@cjzero]
- Tom Brady said if he were a safety, he’d try to play like Dashon Goldson. [YouTube]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM. The Bulls won the International League championship, but lost the triple-A championship.
MONTGOMERY. The Biscuits finished the season 71-69.
CHARLOTTE. The Stone Crabs finished the regular season 67-65. They lost their playoff series 3-0.
BOWLING GREEN. The Hot Rods finished the regular season 82-56. Bowling Green lost their first round playoff series 2-0.
HUDSON VALLEY. The Renegades finished the season 38-37.
PRINCETON. The Rays finished the season 25-43.